Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/561/6743
BT: reluctant vote for pension cuts
By a margin of two to one BT workers have reluctantly voted to accept the attacks on their pensions recommended by both their union, the CWU and the employer.
Clive Walder, CWU Birmingham, Black Country and Worcs branch, personal capacity
Only 40% of the eligible membership voted. The high abstention rate no doubt reflects the fact that many members are dismayed and angry that the union is backing the employer's attacks on their pension and have allowed them the right to back out of even this agreement due to 'economic circumstances adversely affecting BT'.
With minimal resources and without the apparatus to reach every member of the union the 'no' campaign can be pleased with its vote.
BT put a worst case scenario and spread a message of doom and gloom about the pension fund deficit, a message willingly echoed by the union leadership. If there were more union branch officers who showed leadership and questioned BT's arguments the result could have been different.
There is a need to build a new fighting leadership at both branch and national level. A line in the sand has been drawn. Many people once considered 'lefts' have now abandoned any serious intention of fighting for the members.
Significantly none of the broad left (BL) executive members who voted in favour of these pension attacks, at the time of writing, have sought a BL nomination for this year's elections. It may be that these people will resign their BL membership.
If that is the case, the left can refocus its work without having to consider those members who have capitulated to the employer.
In The Socialist 7 January 2009:
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party campaigns
Celebrity Big Brother
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Environment and socialism